Friday, December 9, 2016

NCRS Pruning School, Then Teacher is Gone

So a week ago Friday, I was a student in the NCRS Pruning School, taught by Research Horticulturist Jacob Emling.  Over the years I had watched the Horticulture staff do this, but had never been involved myself.  But maybe it's time.  I learned right away that pruning is kind of complicated.  Plus there is lot's of counting as in the grapes here.  You only want so many future fruiting buds per vine.  So you are not just pruning to make them look nicer, you are preparing for next year's production.  
Below we see students Renee, Jay and Tim B paying attention to Instructor Jake.  Tim has done this for years and is at the head of the class. I hope that Spartan Renee and Wolverine Tim don't let tensions flare while handling sharp instruments.
 Next it was on to the apple orchard.  Again, you don't just start snipping.  You want to build the future growth by controlling direction of limbs, and removing ones that are growing out into the middles.  Now that some of the trees are taller than the top wire, we learned that it will be necessary to bend them around towards the ground.  You don't really want to cut them off as that stimulates more high branching.  I think.
 Everyone took a turn under the teacher's watch.  So why are we having school and training of the NCRS staff on such a cold day?  Well it seems that this was Jake's last day.  He has gotten a research grant at MSU that will enable him to work on his Ph.D.  He will use what he started here as the research will focus on the Solid Set Canopy Delivery systems for pesticide application in orchards.  But he leaves on good terms and will stop by from time to time and be available for questions about pruning and other stuff.
 It seems like he just got here.  Well he did.  Here he is on August 19, 2014 talking about the orchard at the Research Field Days.  He had just recently started and was talking about the small trees in the background that have just this year gotten quite tall and come into good production.
So good luck.  Thanks for all the work and support and don't be a stranger.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Painting the Orchard. Really!

So a couple blogs ago there was a picture of the orchard with base of the tree trunks painted white. This is to enable the trees to withstand the sunlight reflected off the snow that can damage the trunks. Well the job wasn't yet complete and it was unusually warm in the mid-50's today, so time to paint. Here we see Jacob applying paint with a pump up sprayer and then Renee spreading the paint around evenly with a big brush.  It is slow going in a high-density orchard with three foot tree spacing. Probably a power painter would help.
Well that is what Tim and Quinten are using.  But there is only one and they must have won the coin toss.
But it does make the trees look nice and professional.  It's supposed to be nice tomorrow and they should get it finished.
Jacob says it should last a couple years as the trees are still growing. Let it snow I guess.  Although everyone is enjoying the nice weather, so hope it holds off a little while longer.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

So Happy Thanksgiving to all of you out in blogland.  I am thankful for all of the loyal followers of Land of Liquid.  I am also thankful to be an active participant in the world of agriculture and working with my fellow researchers and agronomists to develop and promote a better program of crop nutrition.  But we pause on this day of Thanksgiving to spend with family and friends and maintaining traditions.  Like we always watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.  Here are the elf balloons signifying that Santa is near.
 And here he is.  It's only a month till he takes to the air to deliver Pro-Germinator to the good farmers all across the Land of Liquid.  Except in California where it's PrG.  (Don't ask.)
 The traditions don't stop there.  Right after the parade is the Dog Show.  We have three dogs and always enjoy watching together.  Like here is the pug entry in the Toy Dog group.  But it's fixed since the pug never wins.  But we watch anyway.
 And early afternoon means it's time to start the grill for smoking the turkey.  We went to some friends for Thanksgiving while living in Minnesota back in 1985.  They smoked their turkey and it was so good that I have been doing it my own self ever since.  I am now, always have been and always will be a charcoal person.  That is the way to make smoke, to me anyway.  
 And here is the finished bird.  You can see that the popper has popped.  (I removed the foil covering and water cans prior to the pic.  I'm not a barbarian.)  And it tasted as good as it looked.  Oh so smokey. There is kind of a smoking fraternity at AgroLiquid HQ.  It seems that Troy and Chris also are turkey smokers.  So naturally I texted a pic of my grill in action to them.
 Like I said, everyone has their own traditions.  Troy and family evidently had already eaten before I even lit my coals.  Troy is a Traeger grill guy.  I am not knowledgeable of such things, but have heard of this.  He texted this to Chris and me.  I will say that it looks pretty nice.  Although I am not familiar with this bondage technique of the legs.  But will seek knowledge on this strange practice.
Chris texted this pic of his turkey.  I'm pretty sure it has already been cut up on this serving platter. Although it may have come off the grill like this.  You never know what those crazy chemists are up to.  But he said it was good and I'm sure it was.  He is in the smoking fraternity after all.
So I hope all of the individual turkey day traditions were enjoyed by all.  So maybe in the next blog post I will talk about agriculture stuff.  But I love Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

NASCAR's Fiery Finale

So today was the last NASCAR race of the 2016 season. It was in Florida. I thought I would watch the end, and glad I did.  Without going into detail, they have a system of determining the overall season champion and there were four racers eligible for the season championship.  Despite winning two races this year, our favorite driver, Martin Truex, was not eligible to be the season champion. Why is he our favorite?  Because the owner of his car, Barney Visser, is a customer of AgroLiquid on a very large farm near Denver.  (Check out the May 30 blog post when Martin won the Coca-Cola 600). But he was one of forty drivers that wanted to win the race anyway.  

What's this?  An interview after a crash?  What happened.
 Well on a re-start with only a few laps left, there was a chain reaction wreck, and for some reason his car caught on fire.  But he was not the one who caused it, but did pay the consequences.
 No he is not still racing.  It just takes a while to come to a stop when racing, plus it looks like his view might be somewhat obstructed.
 He did eventually get stopped and quickly jumped out...unhurt.  Not even a singed toe.  Well that was a tough way to end the race for Martin.  But it was a successful year for the 78 with two victories.  
Here is winner of both the race and the season championship: Jimmy Johnson.  This is his seventh championship.  And he is only 41 years old.  But now he is tied for the most championships with Richard Petty and Dale Earhardt.  (Check out the blog on July 28, 2014 when I saw Richard Petty at the Ag Ph.D Field Day.)
So that made for some exciting Sunday TV.  Hopefully I can report on Martin's victory next February when the 2017 season kicks off at the Daytona 500.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

NCRS Season Wrap Up

So we have had a warm stretch of weather lately and so it is still nice to get outside and see what is going on at the NCRS.  These pics are from last Friday.  Field crop harvest is over and all that remains of some of the corn plots is the unharvested plot border rows.  This is from Farm 11 where the plots are over a thousand feet long.
 Here are the sugarbeets from the experiment on Farm 7.  We have a deal with a nearby grower who uses one of those Maus harvesters that scoops them up and unloads into a truck on the road.  I showed that in the blog a few years ago.   It's cool.  They will get over here someday soon.
I hate to admit that we have a constant battle with compaction.  This is because all of our six row plots have numerous trips through all season from planting, sidedress (corn), foliar apps, harvest and grain cart weigh wagon.  So we are on a ripping rotation and use cover crops where we can.  Here we see Phil operating the ripper on Farm 10. 
 There is still some of what we call "production corn" out.  This is corn that was not part of a replicated plot experiment.  Here is Jeff over on Farm 9 trying to finish up.  
 There are some evaluations taking place in the greenhouse.  This is a tomato fertilizer test for greenhouse grown tomato transplants.  These are some of the plants kept after the earlier evaluations.  On the left is no fertilizer, in the middle is AgroLiquid Grow Right and on the right is a commercially used dry fertilizer (dissolved in water for use).  The best treatment is obvious to me.
 Over on Farm 5 there is an experiment with rows of emerging winter wheat.  The wheat went in a little late this fall as harvest was held up several times due to rain.  But with the warm days now it is growing fast.
 And here is the high density orchard.  See the white trunks?  That is a paint that will reflect the intense light that is reflected by snow, that will surely be here sometime in the months ahead.  Left unprotected, the trees can develop cracks in the bark.  Unfortunately with over 3000 trees in this orchard, there is still a ways to go.  But it will get done.
So the 23rd season of research is wrapping up at our North Central Research Station.  But don't worry, we saved some more things to test in 2017.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance

So I'm sure you have wondered how on Earth does AgroLiquid stay so innovative and ahead of the world of crop nutrition.  Certainly the premier products are a reason, but additionally it is the meeting of the minds of Agronomic Science (Research, Agronomy and Product Development), Sales and our ownership.  That's what happened this week at AgroLiquid world headquarters in St. Johns.  The agenda was full with data review, program updates, preparation of new product release and especially preparation for the Summit meeting next week in Nashville for our Retail Partners. 
So one growing season ends and time to get prepared for the next one.  Count on AgroLiquid to lead growers to the Greatest Returns Economically Available Today.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Halloween Vowel Movement (Again)

Happy Halloween.  So let's re-visit a favorite blog post....all the way back to 2012.  (I must have had more time back then to do such things. Or just worked faster.) 

So Happy Halloween to all of you out in Blogland.  Last year I took a stab at LIQUID pumpkin carving with pretty good results.  Here is a re-run of the picture from exactly one year ago.  So how could I top that for 2012?
I know...instead of one pumpkin (which anyone could do), why not six!  After hours of careful carving and still having all my fingers and thumbs in place, I was finished.  Now to arrange them on the porch.  Hmmm, not as easy as I thought.
A little re-arranging....D'oh....still wrong.  I need a pumpkin spell-check.
Finally. That looks right. 
I suppose now all of the Trick-or-Treaters will be expecting a bag full of Pro-Germinator.  I better stock up.